Al Safir sets quality records

Al Safir Hotel & Tower owner and board chairman, displays the certificates

Bahrain's Al Safir Hotel and Tower created a hospitality industry record by becoming the first hotel in the kingdom to gain certifications of excellence in three different areas of the International Organisation for Standardisation.

The hotel recently received the Quality Management System - ISO 9001:2008, Occupational Health and Safety System - OHSAS 18001:2007 and Food Safety Management System - ISO 22000:2005.

The property enrolled for assistance under, government training entity, Tamkeen’s Enterprise Development Programme in 2008 to upgrade its standards to help future growth.

The process of developing the methods, training staff to carry out assignments in specific ways to complement the quality procedures and working to create the records for the certification took nearly two years but Al Safir Hotel’s managing director and board member Abdul Hameed Halwachi today leads a proud team at the hotel in Juffair.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Tamkeen which extended its enterprise development support to include quality management giving medium-sized organisations like ours access to expertise and opportunities - it just opened up so many doors for us,” he said.

Halwachi is quick to point out that the final goal was not just to collect certificates but to aim higher and achieve better targets in business. 

“This marathon exercise in identifying our strengths, ironing out weak spots, standardising procedures and training our staff to work to a whole new level of professionalism is not just about gaining certificates,” he said.

“We want a successful and effectively-running Integrated Management System to ensure continual improvement.  Top management commitment is needed if we want to see  sustainable growth in all aspects and secure our financial status.”

The three certificates have been awarded to Al Safir after careful assessment by TUV Middle East. Quality management lays down the guidelines for proper implementation of administrative, human resources and marketing work; the other two certification processes emphasise strict workplace safety and food handling with excellence in preparation and delivery of top quality.

The implementation has resulted in the creation of templates and procedures that have been documented and embedded in the daily work pattern of staff through training and continuous supervision.

Tamkeen’s private sector support senior manager, Mohammed Bucheery, said: “Al Safir’s experience has shown that there is more to certification than just paperwork. The hotel has re-interpreted international standards to meet local needs and generated new standards, new employment for Bahrainis and is well on its way to the next growth trajectory – from four-star to five-star property. It is something we would like to see developing further in the kingdom’s hospitality sector.”

For Halwachi, the next step is sustaining the progress that the certification has brought to Al Safir.

“Our success has not just opened new avenues of excellence and growth for us but also for other hospitality industry establishments,” he said.